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In August 2010, the Stevens were approached by Roddy Bray, a specialist guide in Cape Town, to include a feature on John in a blog and website.

The site is a showcase of ‘people worth hearing’, inspiring guides of Africa with video interviews, audio talks, write-ups and photographs.

Following a meeting with Roddy, John is delighted to be rubbing shoulders with his fellow ‘Great Guides’.

Read, see and hear more about one of Zimbabwe’s Great Guides, John Stevens, at this link.

On first meeting John Stevens, one is immediately struck by his genuine warmth and complete delight in everything life has to offer. For John, his enthusiasm and passion for the wonders of the wild are to be shared with all who meet him. His gentle ways belie the brave, adventurous side of a man who has spent most of his life in the African bush and his quick exclamations of “Look at that!” or “Can you hear that?” invite you to see and hear with new eyes the Africa he loves and is still amazed by after all these years.

“John Stevens is a private safari guide like no other, a legend among his peers and a man with an international reputation as a uniquely charming companion and a consummate professional. He is someone who inspires his clients with total confidence, while providing them with the ultimate experience of the African wild.”

John was born in 1948 in Mutare, which is situated in Zimbabwe’s Eastern Highlands. His father was a keen fisherman and a good shot and from an early age, John accompanied him on many expeditions into the bush.

From his childhood experiences with his father, John’s career took a natural progression and began with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management, spanning seventeen years and including spells as warden of two of Zimbabwe’s most significant game reserves: Matusadona National Park on the banks of Lake Kariba and Mana Pools National Park, in the spectacular Lower Zambezi Valley. John left National Parks in 1981 to build and manage Chikwenya Safari Camp on the banks of the Zambezi River.

From the outset, John’s ambitions were simple: to set his own standards of excellence for discriminating clientele and to convey a little of his undying passion for nature.

In 1985, he launched John Stevens Guided Safaris. John is a purist and his safaris reflect a tradition stretching back to the early years of the twentieth century, when pleasures were simple and time was luxurious. He prefers the camps he uses to be set up in a remote location, far from tourism’s well-trodden path, with comfortable tents, warm showers and al fresco dining under the stars.

“I love the bush,” he says simply and with radiant sincerity. He is a man addicted to his work, who delights in firing others with enthusiasm and for whom a herd of elephant or a pride of lion, daily sights these past 35 years, are still an inexhaustible source of wonder. “Isn’t it marvellous?” is a famous Stevens’ leitmotif.

Over the years, John has travelled widely throughout Africa, and is able to lead safaris in many countries, including Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Malawi, Kenya and Tanzania, although his native Zimbabwe remains his first love.

Although he uses vehicles, canoes and boats where possible, John prefers to encourage his guests to walk. The intimate wildlife encounter gained from being on foot is like no other, making for an experience of memorable intensity, and one which his clients are fully able to enjoy, thanks to their complete confidence in John’s incomparable bush craft.

John gives the gift of his knowledge and experience, inspiring a love of Africa and all she has to offer. As testimony to this, and recorded in the visitors’ books along with the praise and thanks of his many clients, John’s wonderful outlook reinforces the thought that all life should be enjoyed in the same way – “with excitement, wonder and awe”.

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